A versatile canvas of terrain and foliage

Mudumalai National Park

Mudumalai, part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, has a mixed environment with hills, watercourse swamps and tropical forests making it an ideal home for a great variety of wildlife.

A versatile canvas of terrain and foliage

While Mudumalai’s western half experiences the south-west monsoon, the eastern tracts feel the relatively gentler north-east monsoon a little later, and this results in a diversity of vegetation types. Tropical moist-deciduous vegetation towards the western parts of the sanctuary gives way to dry-deciduous and thorn-scrub along the east, supporting a few blackbucks.

There is considerable movement of animals in this vital wildlife corridor area, and the clear days from January to early April are most rewarding for the wildlife enthusiast. Elephants and gaurs are found in large numbers, and herds can be spotted crossing over to or from Bandipur.

Mudumalai is home to Tiger, Asian Elephant, Leopard, Gaur, Sloth Bear, Sambar, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Jackal, Chital, Muntjac, Dhole and Hyena, amongst others. The most feared hunter of this area is the Wild Dog, and a pack on the move is not an uncommon sight.

Birdwatchers can look forward to a long list of species, such as Malabar Trogan, Grey Hornbill, Crested Hawk Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle and the critically endangered white-rumped vulture and long-billed vulture.

The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve

The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is India’s first Biosphere Reserve with extensive forests, a rich repository of flora and fauna and a source of great rivers, including the Kaveri.

Home to several tribal communities like the Todas, Kotas, Irullas and others, ‘Nilgiri’ after which the mountain range is named spreads across the borders of the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

Mudumalai literally means “old hills”. During World War II, the forest was used as a training camp for soldiers to be sent to Burma.

Today, it is one of the safest refuges for the Asian Elephant with over 600 pachyderms found here – the largest concentration of elephants in India.


You can lose yourself in the lush green forests of the Nilgiris, ringing one minute with langur alarm calls and quivering the next minute with the passing of an elephant herd.

Several trails skirt waterholes where plenty of animal activity can be seen. The scream of the Indian Giant Squirrel can be heard from the leafy canopy high above. The loud drumming of the white-bellied woodpecker with its striking crimson chest is captivating while snakes and lizards remain well hidden in the scrub. A melange of woodland birds adds to the thrill of the forest.

The summit of Kargudi Hill offers a strikingly panoramic view of the sanctuary and the Moyar Gorge. More elephants have been born at Theppakadu, the elephant camp near Mudumalai’s reception centre, than elsewhere in India. The camp offers an interesting glimpse into the life of captive elephants.

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Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)